DIRECTED by: Tyler Rubenfeld

A former child actor reconnects with his twin brother to discuss a role they once shared–as the lead in a schlocky, shot-on-video cannibal film, “Innards.”

As a rabid fan of '80s SOV movies, Rubenfeld taps into that wonderful niche while still delivering a compelling contemporary story. If only we could get our hands on a full version of Innards within Innards...

Film Pulse editor Adam Patterson

Five Questions with Director Tyler Rubenfeld

What was a unique challenge you faced in making this film?

The only real difficulties came from shooting the VHS scenes. I knew going in that there was a thin line between making footage look convincingly “old” and calling attention to yourself by trying to make something look old. The last thing I wanted was to take viewers out of the film by, say, shooting digital and slapping on an old-timey filter. I knew that shooting on VHS would, a.) look antiquated in a way that hasn’t been exploited too much in contemporary film, and b.) make it a proper ode to shot-on-video (SOV) horror—which gives “Innards,” the film inside “Innards,” a real cultural specificity. But there’s no real way to rent those types of cameras, even in New York, so I just bit the bullet and bought a $300 old news camera from eBay and hoped for the best. It worked! But, you know, the thing weighed a metric ton, had to be plugged in all the time, and we couldn’t play the footage back as we were shooting (as the VCR we brought to set ended up eating tapes.) But hey, it all worked out in the end. And now I have this big-ass VHS camera in my room that I don’t want to throw out, so if anyone wants to use it…

Where did the inspiration for this film come from?

This is part of a larger proposed feature about a mosaic of characters dealing with various types of alienation over the course of one night. The child actor character was a late addition to the script; I knew something was missing, and then my buddy Frank (Mosley) came to town to shoot his (amazing) short film, “Parthenon.” And I vaguely wanted to make something about a former child actor; I’m pretty fascinated by them, they’re often such tragic figures who exist, in the public eye, as walking punchlines. Anyway, hanging out with Frank after his shoot, tossing over this child actor character, and being in a rough spot with this feature script—and then everything kinda clicked.  

Who are your top influences?

In terms of big director names, I especially draw from Reichardt, Lynch, Ming-Liang, Weerasethakul, Akerman, Costa, and some good ol’ P.T. Anderson. In general, though, it’s films that take risks and have beating hearts at their center. That said, I also want to keep beating the drum for “Loren Cass,” by Chris Fuller. It’s such a masterpiece of mood, and it pulls off some really challenging stuff I haven’t seen in films before (for one thing, it has the best scene ever shot during a Leftover Crack concert–worth checking out on YouTube!)

What do you hope people take away from this film?

Uh…I guess I want people to get out of it what they get out of it? Maybe it’s a cop out answer, but I do think the film speaks for itself. I don’t want to dictate or influence how people are supposed to react to it.

What’s your personal takeaway from this production?

The big-ass VHS camera in my room.

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